Marbled White and Corncockle

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The first Marbled White of this year, usually they wait until July to show themselves, again probably the warm winter and spring. Places seen are in the South Avenue near ‘Lazy Days Cafe’.. At the far end of the South Avenue and alongside the field margin against the Mare Way. One of their favourite food plants is Cats Tail Grass.

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There were plenty of butterflies around, the Blues looked a bit shattered with broken wings, there shouid be a second brood by the end of July, I took the opportunity to get a shot of the upper side of the wings of a Ringlet and a male Meadow Brown, The females are sre brighter and have more orange.

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The Cinnabar Moths have been busy and there are plenty of their black and yellow caterpillars to be seen feeding on Ragwort. Whilst its important to remove this poisonous weed from hay fields, some must be left around for the insect larvae to feed on. The plant can be left alone in places where you know that hay is not being cut to feed stock, especially horses.

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On the flower front I found a Corncockle, hopefully more will appear as have the Cornflowers

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On the bird front I’ve noticed a lot more Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Wrens around along with plenty of green woodpeckers. We’ve had some pretty hard frost in the past few winters and the frozen ground makes feeding difficult for the birds that eat worms and ground insects – hence they can starve to death when they need the food energy the most to keep warm. This year we’ve had an incredibly mild winter with very few hard frosts, the rain also makes the ground softer for worm ‘pulling’ and the warmth makes it less likely for them to die of cold

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Last year three pairs of Barn Owls successfully nested on the Estate but so far this year- until today- we’ve seen very few around. I’m pleased to say that the one I saw this morning ( 20th June ) was roosting in a tree very close to one of the Barn Owl nest Boxes.

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There’s a pair of Little Owls ( this one Mr Grumpy ) nesting behind the Woodyard Cottage, haven’t yet got a good photo so this one will have to do. Two adults were out this morning (21st June ) so they’re probably feeding their young.

 

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Update on Labyrinth Spider and Butterflies

Following on from the photo of the Labyrinth Spiders’ home I’ve now a photo of the occupant, albeit it, him/her being a little reluctant to come fully out of the web.

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There’s a lot more insect activity now, Burnet moths mating, Meadow Browns and Large Skippers everywhere .

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For the last few days there have been Ringlet butterflies around and today 18th June I managed a photo

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Theres a lot of other insects, very pretty but I’ll need to identify them

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The cyclamen red Knapweed seems to be able to feed all insects, quite an amazing plant really

A Break Down to the Somerset Levels

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Early morning photo through the trees looking at the very strong sunlight.

The last few days have seen a few more of the bigger insects about, some you get pictures of and some not. I missed out on a Red Underwing Moth and a Bee Fly ?. However nice pictures of a yellow Shell Moth and a Lacewing. I also managed a follow up photo of a Cinnabar with its wings open showing the very dramatic Red against the black

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I’ve been wondering for some time about the very low mats of cobwebs in the grass, they are usually around 4-5 inches across with a hole in the centre that leads down to a …. here it is….. a labyrinth of web woven tunnels at the end of which are the eggs, which is why the spider is called – The Labyrinth Spider ! they are quite harmless and not to be confused with the rather nasty Australian Funnel Spider

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Wild flowers this week coming into bloom are, Self Heal, Common Centaury, a nice Yellow Wort Flower, Scabious

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The week finished off by travelling down to Mulchelney in Somerset for Olga to take part in the Scythe Championships and to attend the Green Fair. Here’s Olga on the competition field

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I don’t take part but walk the dogs, do the cooking and look at the natural world down there. I suppose only to be expected after the serious flooding, in which Mulchelney was the worst hit area, there wasn’t a lot to see. I imagine most of the small mammals and ‘ dormant ‘ insects perished, this in turn leading to a drop in the bird numbers due to a lack of food.

Cinnabars,Burnets and White Plumed moths

 

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An early morning, 5.30 a.m., view through the woods and across ‘Wild Barns’ field. The past few days has been quite busy on the moth front, lots of Cinnabars and Six Spot Burnets and a Blood Veined Moth.

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In my garden I managed some  ( Ithink ) nice photos of a White Plumed Moth, from its appearance I would have thought a more suitable name would be ‘ghost moth’ but there we are, White Plumed it is then.

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There have been plenty of hares about now that the silage has been cut and I had the good fortune of sitting very quietly in my car and some came up within a yard or so of me.

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Whilst this was going on I was filming two of the litter of five fox cubs practicing their hunting techniques.

There’s always plenty new plants to see, Agrimony, Yellow Wort, St Johns Wort and Pyramidal Orchid with more plants flowering  every day.

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Woolly This Tle

Tuberous Thistle is a very rare plant, some were introduced into Wimpole Estates grassland about 30 years ago and they are still growing. Another not common but also not rare thistle is the Woolly Thistle. They come into flower in July with a spectacular flower about 7cm across and part of the flower is covered in a – guess what – a woolly fibre.

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This is todays photo of the plant and hopefully it will bloom later, not sure as its a bi- annual plant. ( photos to follow )

Visiting the Community Allotment I came across this  female Common Blue Butterfly, I think it had just hatched out as I managed to get it to walk onto my finger, it had a very striking blue colouring.

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A few more flowers to add to the list, Bladder Campion, it look very similar to white campion, except that the base is rounder and they have a different leaf.

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Wild Basil is just coming into flower and there are good sized clumps around.

On the walk there were butterflies everywhere, Small Coppers, Common Blues, Tortoise shells, Brimstones, Large Skippers and Speckled Woods and my first Painted Lady of the year.

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However this weeks stars ( at the moment ) the three Red Kites I saw at around 6 am. Speaking to another early walker, he told me he had seen six birds in the same tree that I saw the three.

They spent most of the day at Wimpole feeding on anything dead amongst the grass that had been cut for silage.

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Double click the LH photo to get a better view of the three birds.

They’ve Probably Always Been Here But……….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The last couple of days has seen a increasing emergence of Cinnabar Moths, The Common Blue Butterfly and Skipper Butterflies, including the rather confusing Brown female Common Blue or is it a Brown Argos.? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

In addition to the flying insects I also found a six spot burnet moth caterpillar, last year this area had a good number of these moths feeding on the teazle flower. The other reason for finding the caterpillars here is that they feed on the trefoil.

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This sudden emergence has also been accompanied  by masses, well a lot anyway of The Common Spotted, Bee and Helleborine Orchids. Other wild flowers of the last few days are the Common Gromwell and very very bright and startling pink Grass Vetchling, a relative of the Sweet Pea, Hedge Woundwort and Kidney Vetch. Grass Vetchling.

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